5 Treats for Maine Foodies
Our editors have conjured up a handful of gifts for the cook in your home.
Sometimes creating your shopping list can be as challenging as actually purchasing the items, so the editors of Down East have created this cheat-sheet for putting a smile on the chef in your home. Consider it a cheat-sheet to culinary delights.
Pottery Mug by Evergreen Pottery
A pottery mug, $22.50, with an evergreen bow painted around the belly of the cup makes a nice gift to fill with hot chocolate on a cold winter's night. Potter Laurie Stevens, son Scott Stevens, and daughter-in-law Mo Stevens design, paint, and shape all of the pieces sold at the family shop, which opened thirty years ago. While much has changed since, including the location of the studio - it's now on the green in Bar Harbor - the evergreen motif remains the same.
It is ever green, and it is ever unchanging, Mo Stevens says. And it's a nice reminder of Maine at Christmas.
Tired of Earl Gray and English Breakfast? Drink up some tasty tea from Mount Desert Island, where husband and wife team Matt and Debby Morehouse have launched a premium loose leaf organic tea company with specialty custom tea blends. August Teas (207-244-7011, www.augustteas.com) imports herbs from fair-trade estates around the world and custom blends them to create Maine-inspired flavors. Try the Bar Harbor Black, an organic black tea with red rooibos and lavender, "inspired by the `port-of-call' harbor" for a pick me up, or sample the Grand Acadia Green, a green tea with spearmint, green rooibos, peppermint, and calendula, inspired by the greenery of Acadia National Park. You can find the custom blends at specialty stores such as State of Maine Cheese shop in Rockport and others in Bar Harbor, Blue Hill, and Bangor, or order online. And stay tuned: soon you'll be able to swap your Lipton for local with August Teas' upcoming line of Maine-produced herbal teas currently in development.
When you think of Maine edibles, images of blueberries and fiddleheads might come to mind, not necessarily chanterelles and porcinis. But Candice Heydon, owner of the Damariscotta-based Oyster Creek Mushroom Company (61 Standpipe Rd., Damariscotta, 207-563-1076, www.oyster creekmushroom.com), begs to differ. Oyster Creek’s Maine Wild Mix, a combination of porcini, oyster, chanterelle, black trumpet, Hen, Chicken of the Wood, and morel mushrooms (available fresh or dried), is just one of the dozen products available at its Web site and at specialty food stores across the state. Oyster Creek offers an assortment of locally harvested varieties, including dried or fresh mushrooms, mushroom powder, or mushroom oils. Mix and match, or buy a gift box with a little bit of each. And if you are really ambitious, purchase their Shiitake Growing Kit and inoculate some mushrooms in fresh-cut oak logs in your own backyard!
Tis the season to indulge. But even if it wasn't, who could resist ooey-gooey brownies? Especially ones cut and decorated to resemble miniature Christmas trees. These dark chocolate confections, $51 for six five-ounce brownies, are frosted with white chocolate and sprinkled with sugar before being decorated with candy lights.
Trina and Meggen Beaulier, a mother-daughter duo, experimented with old family recipes before coming up with dozens of delicious flavors to create in their Brunswick bakery. Other decorated shapes, as well as traditional brownies, and two-pound brownie bars are also available in their bakery on the second floor of Fort Andross, building number two.
Simply Divine Heavenly Brownies
14 Maine St., Brunswick
A Tote for It All
Perfect for any getaway, the Stonewall Kitchen Pantry Tote, $99.95, is a heavyweight cotton canvas tote stocked with Maine-made goodies for entertaining and enjoying. Farmhouse pancake and waffle mix, maple syrup, wild Maine blueberry jam, fudge brownie mix, chocolate peanut butter sauce, tangerine marmalade, roasted garlic and onion jam, farmhouse chutney, and more are all neatly stowed inside. Best of all, 5 percent of sales from the tote go toward a charitable organization dedicated to ending childhood hunger in America.
You can find it and other Maine treats at the national retailer's 55,000-square-foot headquarters complete with flagship store, demo kitchen, and caf`, just off Route 1 on Stonewall Lane.
Monday - Friday: 8:00am-8:00pm ET
Saturday - Sunday - 10:00am-6:00pm ET
Stonewall Lane, York